We Are: Disciples of Jesus
Do you believe that Jesus, the Christ, is the Son of God? Do you believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death for your sin, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven?
If so, by God's grace, you have been saved.
And if you've been saved, you are a disciple.
Disciple means "student," and it's something you've been drafted into. This means you've been called into tutelage, called to behold, learn, and grow as an adopted son or daughter of the Most High God.
Once we're there, we often fail. But that's the thing. Being a disciple means you know you need grace, whether you're standing, running, falling, winning or losing.
Being A Disciple Is Who You Are, Not What You Do
In this sense, being a disciple is as much passive as it is active.
I am certainly not suggesting that disciples sit around and do nothing, for nothing could be further from the truth. In the book of Acts, we see the people of God empowered by the Holy Spirit, working and serving, beat up and stoned, preaching and traveling to the ends of the earth as they knew them so as many people as possible would get to hear the Gospel of Jesus.
But the only reason they were able to do these things effectively was because they knew, and believed, the Gospel.
That God, in his mercy, looked down on people who would spit in his face if they could see it. People whom He created, served, and pursued, and whose only response was active rebellion against him.
And God looked down in love and said "I choose them". And He sent His Son to purchase them through His death, then rise to give them life. And He sent His Spirit to turn their hearts of stone into hearts that beat with the blood of the Savior and respond to His goodness in faith.
The disciples described in Acts knew and believed they'd been drafted, called to submit to the authority of Jesus wherever it led them.
But under that authority, we are to "be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 2.1, emphasis mine). Only once you see that you've been made a disciple despite your behavior can you know what it means to truly be a disciple.
Changed Hearts, Changed Lives
As you behold the Savior, it's impossible to not be changed by Him. Before you were a Christian, you looked at God with scorn, indifference, or fear. But, once saved, we get to learn who God is not from the perspective of the condemned, but rather from that of a son or daughter.
We learn to love and trust Him more. And as we learn to love and trust Him more, the more we want to look like Jesus.
This impacts the way we see and conduct our relationships, our jobs, our studies, how spend our money, the food we eat, the clothes we buy, and the way we see and love and seek to serve our city.
We do this not to gain favor or standing with God, for in Christ, our standing cannot be any higher.
We want to look like Jesus and submit to Him as an act of worship in response to His grace.
We do things like talk with God and read His Word, and sign up to serve on a team in a local church so that people can get a chance to hear about Jesus in a positive and loving environment. We might join an organization that serves our city. We might join a Gospel Community to get connected with people who are either figuring out how to be disciples or maybe just checking out what Christian community looks like.
A Joyful Response
At Redeemer, we want to welcome everyone, regardless of who you are or what you've done, because God has welcomed us in spite of what we've done.
We are disciples of Jesus. That means that because of what God has done in Christ, loving us and turning us toward Him, we love our King and want others to love Him too.